HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Cross Creek Village apartments is helping house people who lost their homes in Saturday's deadly tornado.
"Amongst the devastation that we have in our community, the first thought that came to mind is what can we do to help everybody?" said Michelle Archer, Cross Creek Village Apartments property manager. "What can we do to make the process a smoother transition, so they don't have to worry about where they have to find placement to live because they no longer have a home from the tornado? We immediately grouped together to see what offers we could have, so they can have the smoothest process available to them."
The complex is waiving upfront costs and offering three, six and 12 month leases to help those who lost everything.
"We're here for our community, so they can know that we love them and we want to help," Archer said. "It is tremendous. I mean, I can't imagine what they're going through right now. The family that I helped yesterday, it broke my heart, but it was also heartwarming because I was able to help them and do it within a 15 to 20 minute process to make sure that they had a home to come to with quick response and getting the apartment ready for them."
Karen Prine is one of the complexes new residents after losing her home in Petal. She said her insurance agent, Patrick James, and the complex have made her traumatic transition easier.
"It's been awesome," Prine said. "When I talked to Pat, within probably 30 minutes, he had already put my claim in. By noon that day, they already had us in a hotel, and then that afternoon, Brent from temporary accommodations in Atlanta had already called me and was looking for a place for me to be. An address. I had already spoken with a realtor, and they were unable to work with us as far as the long term lease and whatever. They wanted to do a 12-month. We don't know how long we're going to be in temporary housing, so I drove over here, walked in and Michelle, I mean literally within 15 minutes, she was on the ball. She's doing a short term lease. She's waived all the fees. Even though my insurance company is paying for all of that, she's waived everything. So it's been very easy. Huge, huge relief."
James, who is the principal agent at the James Agency in Hattiesburg, said Prine had loss of use coverage included on her insurance policy, which covers her temporary housing and other disaster relief efforts like clothing, meals and even dry cleaning.
"Our member had a homeowners policy that included loss of use, and it pays for temporary accommodations while the house is being repaired," James said. "Our adjuster came in, talked with our member, set it up with Cross Creek, and it's pretty much been a seamless process."
Prine said, "They have done everything. They have packed my house. They've taken it to storage. They have taken things to the dry cleaners and everything. It's a huge relief. We were trying to do things and pack things and cut trees and whatever before we knew what they were going to do, but they were there that afternoon and 'you can stop.' They've done everything."
James said people who need temporary housing should check with their insurance company for loss of use of coverage, but by waiving some fees Cross Creek hopes to help anyone who needs it.
"It was not only me (who wanted to help)," Archer said. "It was way above me from the management company to the owners. It was in our heart to do that to the people that we love around here because we all support one another."
For Archer, who lives in Petal, helping others is also personal.
"It's a blessing to be able to help one another," she said. "I was fortunate. I wasn't affected even though I do live in Petal, so I was blessed in that manner. But I love being able to serve people and help one another, so I can help them."
Archer said anyone who needs housing can come in person to the Cross Creek Village office at 75 Cross Creek Parkway across from Turtle Creek Mall to start an application and choose a floor plan or can call the office at (601) 264-7500.
"I'm just very, I'm thankful," Prine said.